Salt Trows or Wich Barges

  • 26 May 2023
  • Severn Crafts
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Between 1860 and the early years of the present century large numbers of new vessels were built for the salt trade. They were known among the Severn trowmen as 'Wich Barges', the name being an abbreviation of Droitwich. They did not, however, differ in build from the trows. The rising salt trade also contributed to the building of Sharpness Docks, opened in 1874.

Twenty years later, the Gloucester Ship Canal, the Sharpness Docks, the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the Droitwich Canal were amalgamated under the title 'The Sharpness New Docks and Gloucester and Birmingham Navigation. A few  'Wich Barges' survived to recent years as dumb barges. One or two traded until the 1950's at Lydney with petrol-parafin engines, but rigged a small steadying sail in rough weather. Now, except for the hulks lying on the mud flates at Purton, they have all gone

A Wich Barge at the salt warehouse at Droitwich Wharf, c1900

A Wich Barge at the salt warehouse at Droitwich Wharf, 1900

The Trow 'Sucess' loading salt on the Droitwich Canal, c.1900 She was later used as a Dumb Barge taking coal to Cadbury's at Frampton-On-Severn.